Jill participates in a fun learning opportunity with her family. She enjoys receiving free bread provided by Panera Bread she obtains from Family & Children’s Services (F&CS), so she and her son make homemade pizzas at home.
“My son absolutely loves pizza,” she said. “My son was beaming with joy and pride that he was able to make it ‘all by myself.’ I am happy I’ve had bonding time with him and that he loved every minute of it.”
Each week, a F&CS staff member picks up bread from a local Panera Bread location, and the bread is placed into bags that is given to clients by staff at select F&CS locations (including the Salvation Army office location) to enjoy.
“I’ve heard parents talk about how these items help add to their meals at home and the look on people’s faces when they are told that the bread is from Panera is awesome to see,” said one F&CS staff member. “They are excited to have quality items, as many times when food is given for free, it is not of the best quality and a family can feel that frustration. With food being a monthly struggle for most of the families we serve, I love being able to give to these families.”
The amount varies, but around the holidays, the agency can always count on the abundance of breads to give to families from Panera Bread’s Day-End Dough Nation program.
To date, Panera Bread U.S. locations have donated over $100 million in retail value worth of bakery products. The program helps 56 community partners in the Tulsa area.
“We are thrilled that through this partnership with Family & Children’s Services, we can help to meet the needs of so many clients and their families,” said Sue Stees, co-owner, The Traditional Bakery, Inc., a franchise of Panera Bread.
Erin Barnhart, community relations and marketing manager for Panera Bread in Tulsa, said that company has eight bakery cafes in the Tulsa market (which includes Broken Arrow, Owasso and Stillwater). Each location has seven community partners that come to pick up bread one night per week (sometimes twice a week in the event there is an oversupply of food).
“Yes, all Panera Bread locations in our franchise participate in the program, but it’s not just our franchise that participates,” she said. “All Panera Bread locations participate in this program.”